Friday, June 5, 2009


With another Father’s Day (celebrated off and on since 1908) almost upon us (Sunday, June 21, 2009), I thought once again thank my Father, Coburn Allen Buxton, on his birthday, for his paternity, love and mentoring even as this date closely follows the passing of my beloved step mother. Done, thanks, Dad.

I also want to thank and recognize son Geb Buxton for his participation in and outstanding contributions to the health and well being of sons Quinton and Cameron. Well done, Son.

This is going to be a stream of consciousness post today and just maybe a vent. I thought it somewhat perplexing and at cross purposes to see the History Channel’s piece on Father’s day accompanied by a mid sixties shot of John Lennon, Yoko Ono with John’s eldest son by his first marriage, Julian, whose relationship always appeared to be “strained” with his father. At one point Julian did not see his father for several years. Lennon is reputed to have verbally abused his children and when it came down to the ultimate bottom line, didn’t even mention Julian in his will.

The photo is in a History Channel gallery of shots that includes JFK, Muhammad Ali, Paul McCartney, MLK, Jackie Robinson, Prince Charles, Elvis, Will Smith, Eddie Murphy and George Herbert Walker Bush (the Father). While these folks proved themselves famous human beings it seems they are in the gallery for no other reason than they produced progeny (easier to become one than be one).

Philip Norman's John Lennon: The Life rats Lennon out and even in a controversial Oedipal slight reflects that Lennon regretted that he didn’t sleep with his Mother?

John was known mostly for his arrogant/egotistical, eccentric, always rebellious nature, biting and many times inappropriate profane remarks and acerbic wit and his now and always infamous quote, "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I do not know what will go first, rock 'n' roll or Christianity...We're more popular than Jesus now" and for his use of expletives in some of his songs. That quote despite a patently insincere back door apology, ended the Beatles touring career. He ultimately sarcastically thanked Jesus for what he perceived as a positive development in his career. Along with McCartney he founded the Beatles and then singlehandedly brought them down. No, I don’t buy into the genius with quirks syndrome… Not everybody shares hyperbole about Lennon’s “Genius.”

Lennon was an admitted male chauvinist of the first order and even acknowledged striking first wife Cynthia in the face. Two of his legacies (aside from his superb music) were his many infidelities and excessive drug and alcohol use. He, though not all of his demons, were ultimately “tamed” by a not so subservient Yoko Ono who later in their relationship even suggested that John take on a companion. He obliged though later reconciled with Yoko who took charge of his life from that point. He may have made some of us ponder the important issues of the day but he was no hero or Renaissance Man, rather just a man with his own demons.

William Faulkner once commented viscerally about his motivation as a writer, “An artist is a creature driven by demons. He doesn't know why they choose him and he's usually too busy to wonder why."

My good Friend and Emmy Award winner Sandy Marshall in his critically acclaimed Lennon biography, And In The End -The Death and Life of John Lennon, stirs up a lot of the same dirt and some of the good in his mostly one man play which starred the talented Irish actor Valentine Pelka. This was no rose tinted wash of Lennon’s life (rather the good, the bad and the ugly) which was well received at the Edinburgh Festival and later in Australia. The public would be well served if Broadway or even a world class movie was the next step. Sandy was insightful and right on and surely didn’t paint a portrait of The Father of the Year.

Seems that so many of the post mortem platitudes (history rewrites) about Lennon are from those who would profit from an economic opportunity that includes memorabilia that preserves the legacy of this “Utopian Renaissance Man” or those who choose to remember the idealistic Lennon myth obscured by an emotional 60’s Haight-Ashbury cloud (yea, that one). For me Lennon’s flaws tragically and irrevocably diminish his legacy (Father or not) –
you have to walk the walk.

So, while the brilliant, iconic talent and personality that garnered for Lennon #8 on the BBC’s One Hundred Most Admired Britons list, it does little to enhance his standing as a credible, responsible parent. Yet, besides all this he is featured and offered by the History Channel as a Father figure for those interested in this tradition?

Got to be a joke… Just ImagineYes, I was and remain a big Beatles Fan

For those of you that well deserve the title pater, Happy Father’s Day.


Ned Buxton

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